Is Organic Really Better?

Brad Hoppmann

We’re told all the time to "buy organic" because it’s healthier and better for us.

You see, organic farmers rely on biological diversity in the field to naturally reduce the habitat for pest organisms instead of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

Organic farmers also purposefully maintain and replenish the fertility of the soil.

But is organic really better for us … or is this just a marketing ploy to snatch more money out of our pockets?

Well, a newly published study in the British Journal of Nutrition says organic really is better.

Note — this study is the largest meta-analysis (i.e., review of studies) that has been published on this topic to date, covering 343 individual studies looking at the composition of crops and food.

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The study found lower levels of cadmium — a toxic, heavy metal — and lower levels of pesticide residues.

On average, cadmium and pesticide levels were 48% and 400% lower, respectively, in organic produce than in conventional varieties.

Cadmium is an extremely toxic metal that accumulates in the human body over time. It is classified as a Category I carcinogen, meaning it contributes to cancer development.

Cadmium has also been linked to an increased risk of everything from Alzheimer’s disease, to thyroid problems, to cardiovascular disease, to hormone imbalance.

In addition, the study found that eating organic food can boost a person’s antioxidant intake by up to 40%.

"Antioxidant" has become a very popular word in health marketing these days, but most people actually have no clue what antioxidants even are.

An antioxidant is actually not a substance at all; it’s a behavior. Any compound that can donate electrons and counteract free radicals has antioxidant properties.

Natural antioxidants are mainly found in fruits and vegetables, marine plants, and seafood. Most commonly, you may recognize vitamins A, C and E as potent antioxidants.

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On Your Body’s Cells

Antioxidants protect the body from harmful substances called "free radicals."

Free radicals are cellular molecules that float around the body, stealing electrons from healthy cells — making them free radicals in their own right.

This may sound minuscule, but the resulting oxidative stress on the body has been linked to diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, aging, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, cognitive decline, and eye conditions like macular degeneration.

This means that the higher antioxidant intake a body has, a better and stronger defense against these harmful diseases exists.

But …

You Don’t Always Have to

‘Buy Organic’ to Benefit!

I understand though, that buying organic is more expensive, which is why below I’ve listed some foods that you don’t need to buy organic.

You see, the greatest benefit of buying organic foods is that it can help you avoid ingesting pesticides and other chemicals.

But, fruits with thick skin barriers are actually protected by this covering. So the chemicals never reach the actual fruit we ingest.

This includes foods like, bananas, avocados, oranges and grapefruits.

In contrast, fruits like apples, peaches and grapes (where you eat the skin) will be heavily affected by pesticides.

Also, because of their high sulfur content, certain vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, onions and garlic do not attract pests; therefore, they are not treated with pesticides.

So, don’t bother spending the extra cash on these veggies!

But no matter what, some people prefer to buy only organic food. In the end it all comes down to personal preferences and your own health goals.

Happy and healthy investing,

Brad Hoppmann


Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “Is Organic Really Better?”

  1. Interesting article, however, maybe you should really look at the entire dataset. Cadmium, which you correctly state is a heavy metal, but levels of this are totally dependent on the soils a plant is grown in; if there enough studies across all soil types there would likely be no differences noted.

    As for higher level of antioxidants, this is actually an indicator that the plant is under high stress. All species have stress defense mechanisms of some sort and for plant, it is the production of antioxidants. If you go to the studies data, you will see that other nutrients, such as protein, are generally lower in the organic grown products.

    I am not anti-organic or pro-GMO, etc per se. Being a nutritionist and dealing with all this it is very difficult to truly know what is the best as most of the studies have considerable bias (regardless of the point of view); I do not believe we have the entire knowledge base to know what is or is not best.

    I have been somewhat skeptical about GMO’s since their inception, but I also know a wheat farmer that grew dryland wheat both organically and conventionally – for a few years the organic the yields were only slightly less than conventional, but after about 6 years the yields dropped dramatically. With population expect to be 9 billion by 2050, how are we to provide for all – hunger is one of the more cruel forms of poverty anywhere in the world.

    I totally agree with your last statement “In the end it all comes down to personal preferences and your own health goals”. Just do not through the baby out with the bathwater and take all studies with enough skepticism to know they were probably designed with some bias.

  2. Trying to wrap my head around the statement that pesticide levels are ‘400% less’ in organic vs conventional.
    Once you’ve got 100% less pesticides than your starting point or baseline, how do you keep reducing?

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